Evaluation of DRR Mainstreaming within ECHO’s Humanitarian Actions
In the last three to four years the issue of disaster risk reduction (DRR) has become increasingly important in both developmental and humanitarian policy and programming. Reducing the underlying vulnerability of people to disasters and increasing their resilience or coping capacities is now seen as an important element in poverty reduction and ultimately in sustainable development efforts. As the worlds largest humanitarian donor agency, DG ECHO is increasingly concerned about incorporating DRR into its response actions. Although DG ECHO has a longstanding programme of community-based disaster preparedness, known as DIPECHO, to date the organisation has not had a clear policy for DRR. However, this position is changing and the organisation is now in the process of developing an internal policy. At the same time there is a Commission-wide consultation process, together with external partners and Member States, led by DG Development to finalise a Communication on DRR. It is within this context that the Evaluation Sector of DG ECHO commissioned an evaluation exercise to explore the issue of mainstreaming of DRR in the funding of its humanitarian actions. Aguaconsult won the contract on the basis of a competitive international tender in late 2007 and conducted the evaluation between January and June 2008.The Aguaconsult team visited ten countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa and held extensive consultations with beneficiaries, DG ECHO staff, implementing agencies and other stakeholders including local and national government authorities. The evaluation found that despite constraints posed by the current budgetary frameworks and legal mandate, considerable progress on mainstreaming DRR activities has been made by a range of DG ECHO project partners. In many, if not the overwhelming majority of cases these interventions are not explicitly linked to, or labelled as risk reduction activities by practitioners, but are more often understood as good humanitarian practice. The team made a number of recommendations, including a review of DG ECHO policy positions on DRR and alignment with broader EC Directorates, as well as operational guidance through the production of a series of sector inventories.